1Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples,2“The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses.3So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach.4They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden.
Jesus now starts a long incrimination of the Jewish religious leaders. They had tried to publicly humiliate and convict Jesus and had failed. Jesus would not fail to expose the error of their ways…and possibly ours.
First Jesus gives them the respect of their office as the official interpreters of the rules and laws of Moses. Jesus has respect for position and authority and so should we. A bad President is still the President. A bad parent is still a parent. But respect for position does not mean blind following.
Jesus’ first criticism of the religious leaders is something I can fail in myself so easily. The Pharisees turned the 10 Commandments into a huge litany of detailed rules and laws. The could always find a reason to condemn or criticize someone. They didn’t lift people up, they put them down. Do we do that now? I know I can so often hear myself saying “you should have…” or “you shouldn’t have…”. I can be so quick to point out the errors of others and myself. That is not what Jesus wants from us. He wants us to make others’ live easier and better. We are to brighten the gloomy heart and lighten the heavy soul. A smile, a helping hand, a forgiving word, that is what we are called to do for those around us.
Lord, help me to bring your love, joy, peace…and smile to myself and everyone I meet. Beginner’s Online Bible Study *obbs*